Getting That First Job

Question:

Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a jump in the unemployment rate to 10.2%.Some economists think we could be looking at 10.5% by early next year.

Given these grim forecasts, how do you counsel recent college graduates and others entering the job market for the first time in this employment climate? Is there any advice or strategies you find particularly useful?

Answer:

My advice to recent college graduates entering the job market is to follow their plan, but keep up regular reality checks. 

What plan? What reality checks?

First reality check:  many college graduates do not have a grand plan for their future.  They have no burning desire to tackle a particular problem or develop in a specific direction.  If so, then that’s where you start.  You are looking for a problem, a skill or an industry that you find particularly engaging.  You are looking for something people recognize that you do well.  And you need to be able to make a reasonable living doing it.  Yes, it will take hard work, research and talking to people to find a career that satifies those three principles, but it’s worth it.

Let’s say you have just spent the last four years studying accounting, but now that you’re graduating you find that you have no desire to pursue a career in accounting.  On the other hand, you know that accounting jobs pay reasonably well and are relatively recession-proof.  Well, you have two out of three:  you’re good at accounting and it pays well, but you’re not engaged by it.

Now’s the time to think and research.  You need to determine how you can use your accounting skills in a way that you find engaging. 

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